Packing Preparation

By : Karissa Suparto ( MFA Master of Fine Art at University of Ulster, Belfast)
Things I’d advice my fellow Indonesians to prepare before moving to the lovely-yet-unpredictable Norn Ireland…
Deffs a valid passport & visa and other important documents. These typically include relevant letters from uni (offer letter, acceptance letter, CAS, course plans, etc), copies of medical history, important contact details, and correspondence of accommodation arrangements.
When I moved here, I brought with me several key items. Clothing-wise, long-sleeved tops, jeans, trainers and boots, sweaters, scarves, a pair of gloves, an umbrella, and a hat are basic essentials. I also brought two pairs of tights as well as thermal leggings and tops. And of course underwear, socks, and a good coat. Also remember to bring your own skincare items as the weather here can be quite unforgiving in the colder months and a good moisturiser goes a long way. There’s really no need to bring any more as you can easily buy any of these essentials when you arrive if you feel the need for a cheaper price at, say, Primark or Boots, than overpacking a suitcase. Sometimes you will find that some of the clothing your brought will only last you so long or hardly worn at all. I’ve been here 18 months and I haven’t had the need to wear my thermals this winter (whereas last year, a cotton tank top and a regular pair of tights under my outfit just didn’t cut it), and several long-sleeved tops I had with me at the start of my course have long served its purpose and have been given away. Don’t feel bad if you find that you don’t need some of the items now. If they’re essential, they’ll find a way to get worn later. Also you will find that an umbrella lasts a lot less longer here than anywhere else, so be prepared to break and lose some (I’ve broken three and had one stolen in the last 12 months alone).
Many private accommodations also don’t provide bedsheets and pillowcases (some do, but they are usually provided by a live-in landlord/lady), so if you’re not bringing sheets with you, again, they can be purchased quite cheaply. I bought mine from Primark for £8 and fits a double bed, whilst a set of pillowcases were about £3, and a small fleece throw blanket about £5 (prices may have changed as this was over a year ago). Many private accommodations provide a kettle and microwave but not a rice cooker. I strongly urge people to NOT bring their own from home! First of all, it’s big, heavy, and takes up a lot of space. Not to mention, it adds an unnecessary extra baggage when checking it at the airport and at collection, and it has a chance of becoming problematic with other appliances in the kitchen, causing them to shortcircuit. Hello, unhappy landlord! If you must have your rice on a regular basis, this can easily be purchased at a reasonable price af places like Argos.
I also brought some of my favourite things from home, these are mainly comfort items such as minyak kayu putih, a cuddly toy, and my favourite pillow, beauty items, and dry packaged food items like instant noodles, crisps, biscuits, and a bottle of chilli sauce. I would also advice female movers to not panic about access to feminine hygiene, as there are a wide range of pads, tampons, and paracetamols and ibuprofens available at chemists like Boots, pound shops, and supermarkets. Just bring enough of your preferred products to last the first few weeks.
If you are on any kinds of medications, make sure you have stocked enough for the duration of your course, or until your go home in a few months’ time and get it refilled. Many doctors will usually prescribe the same or similar meds available here, although depending on what it is, they may prescribe you a generic brand. So whether you’re on aspirin or birth control pill, I strongly advice you to stock up.
Tech-wise, the first thing I tell people is to get a good adaptor. Of course they can be bought here quite cheaply at Tesco or B&Q, but it’s always nicer to be prepared, and it hardly takes up any space in your bag. Three may sound a bit excessive, but just remember that you’ll need one for your phone charger (if it doesn’t already come with a three-pronged charger, such as the iPhone), your laptop charger, and one to keep for miscellanious purposes. I would advice the ladies (and boys with long hair? lol) to leave your hairdryers and hair straighteners at home and just buy a cheap one here and avoid overstuffing your suitcase. Once your course is over you can just donate them and come home to your own hairdryers.
Everything CAN fit in one large suitcase, a carry-on, and a backpack. Just pack smart.
Further Link:
List of prohibited and restricted goods  : LINK
Example Checklist preparation               : LINK
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